Located in the Bronx, New York, City Island is a small island, approximately one mile long and a quarter mile wide. City Island is surrounded by Eastchester Bay on one side and Long Island Sound on the other. Its bridge attaches to a roadway adjacent to Pelham Bay Park, New York City's largest park. In this area, and in the waters and wetlands, in and around City Island, many bird species thrive. Here, several and varied migratory birds are found. This website was created to help study, appreciate, and protect all the birds of this area.

Save Forests and Save Birds

Ancient Boreal forests are being cut down for 
Toilet Tissue, Paper Towels and Catalogs!

SHOP SMART- SAVE BIRDShttp://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/gtissue.asphttp://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/gtissue.aspshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1
City Island Birds
Since 2007

Birding Advocacy

More than 80,000 people have viewed this page.

Welcome to City Island Birds. I created this website because this area of New York City is little known and underutilized by birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Pelham Bay Park, with its woods and wetlands is a critical stopover and nesting area to many migratory species.

Photos and Results of Our Past Walks
2007- 2010

Winter Bird Walk- January 9
First Spring Walk- April 17
Easter Walk- April 24
Split Rock-Mother’s Day Walk- May 7 
Turtle Cove “Watch”- June 26
Raptor and Waterfowl Walk- Nov. 27
Owl Walk- March 24
Owlet Walk April 15, 2012
Spring “Migration Madness” Walk- May 6
Clapper Rail Walk- May 27   
Fall Migration Walk- Sept. 23, 2012
Migration Walk- October 14, 2012
Last Minute Barred Owl Walk- Dec. 9, 2012
Bronx Brooklyn Walk- January 12
Spring Migration Walk- May 5
Three Club Walk-  August 24
Fall Migration Walk 2013
Owlet Walk- April 13, 2014
Spring Migration Walk 2014Previous_Birdwalks.htmlWinter_Bird_Walk.htmlEarly_Spring_Migration_Walk.htmlEaster_Walk.htmlSplit_Rock-_Mothers_Day_Walk.htmlTurtle_Cove_%22Watch%22.htmlRaptor_and_Waterfowl_Walk.htmlOwl_Walk.htmlOwlet_Walk.htmlMigration_Madness.htmlClapper_Rail_walk.htmlFall_Migration_Walk.htmlFall_Migration_2012.htmlbarred_Owl_Walk.htmlBronx_Brooklyn_Walk.htmlSpring_Migration_2013.htmlThree_Club_Walk.htmlFall_Migration_2013.htmlOwlet_Walk_2014.htmlSpring_Migration_2014.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1shapeimage_8_link_2shapeimage_8_link_3shapeimage_8_link_4shapeimage_8_link_5shapeimage_8_link_6shapeimage_8_link_7shapeimage_8_link_8shapeimage_8_link_9shapeimage_8_link_10shapeimage_8_link_11shapeimage_8_link_12shapeimage_8_link_13shapeimage_8_link_14shapeimage_8_link_15shapeimage_8_link_16shapeimage_8_link_17shapeimage_8_link_18shapeimage_8_link_19


Barnacle Goose at Orchard Beach

Jack Rothman


Traveling and Birding the Amazon

Several people have requested information about our trip to the Amazon.

Birding Interest- Past Articles

Important and Useful

The Wild Bird Fund   (Animal Rehabber)

New York Tide Chart

Urban Park Rangers

NY State Parks

Birdcast (Migration Reports)


City Island?http://forgotten-ny.com/2000/05/city-island/
Pelham Bay Park Maphttp://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/vt_pelham_bay_park/images/Pelham%20map-rev2005.pdf
City Island Communityhttp://www.cityisland.com
Directions Herehttp://www.cityisland.com/directions.html
City Island Birding ClubCIB_Club.html
The Kazimiroff Nature Trail of Hunter Island
You may have noticed the new signs posted along the paths on Hunter island. The numbers correlate to different features of the “Island.” If you link below, you can find out what each sign post means. Dr. Kazimiroff was a noted Bronx naturalist. The trail marked in his honor winds through the largest and most natural of all of NYC parks. This area was once hunting and fishing grounds and the site of huge mansions. To find out more, print and bring the guide with you on your next walk. Kazimiroff Trail.pdf


I know it’s spring or summer when the Marsh Wrens return. Listen for an almost rattle like sound. They usually pop up and go down into the tall grass. If you’re lucky, one will perch and sing for you.

This is a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. They nest in the area on Goose Island.

Binocular and Smartphone Help

If you’re not familiar with how your computer or smartphone can help you be a better and more successful birder, you should read my little primer, link here.

If you need or want a new pair of binoculars, you might want to begin here. Binoculars have really changed in the last few years. You can get a fantastic pair for a few hundred dollars and a really good pair for less than $200. Years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much choice. You should link here for ratings.

A very rare bird for Turtle Cove visited this week. It was a Tricolored Heron, which was still there on Friday. This was the first time I’ve ever seen one at this location.

In the 1960 and 70’ people worried that the Osprey might become extinct. It was certainly endangered because of the thinning of its shell from DDT. This bird has made a fantastic comeback. I took this photo as the bird hovered with this fish over City Island Avenue. Interestingly, once an Osprey sinks its talons into a fish, it cannot let go. So if the fish turns out to be too big and strong, it can sometimes drown the Osprey.

Blue-grey Gnatcatchers nest near the Bartow-Pell Mansion and most likely in several other locations around the park.

Willow Flycatchers are nesting all around the park. If you stand by the bridge at Turtle Cove, you’ll probably her one before you see it. It’s call is almost a sneeze, often described as a “Fitz-bew,”

Ok, it’s not a bird but a beautiful Eastern tailed Blue, I believe. It was photographed on the wood chip trail near the driving range last year.

On the left , is an adult Tree Swallow. The photo on the right is of a Barn Swallow nest.

We have both of these species nesting here in the park. If you go under the NY Central train trestle, near the Split Rock Golf Course, you can find Barn Swallows, like the ones here, nesting along the metal supports. They build mud nests which stick to these rafters. Interestingly, these and other Barn Swallows demonstrate “site tenacity.”  This means that if a location has worked out for them in the past, they will return again and again. The Barn Swallows here, have returned to this location for as many years as I can remember.

All photos and text by Jack Rothman
All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.

Copyright 2014

Updated 6/8/14

Songbird Migration Ends for Now

Nesting Birds Remain

Shorebird Migration Picks Up

The songbird migration here has ended. Most breeding species are nesting now and the late spring-summer lull begins. Here in the park we have many nesting species. You can check which species nest here, by clicking the file below, “Birding Interest-Past Articles”. Nesting species are marked with an asterisk. We are lucky. While other areas of the city are slow, our location is fairly active with arriving shorebirds and wading birds.